10 Steps to a Paid Speaking Gig

BRIGHT IDEAS no bkgrndDo you dream of turning your speaking talents into cash by becoming a professional speaker? Gelfand member Mariposa Valdes,  who has done just that, recently shared some advice for making your public speaking skills pay off:

  1. What are you an expert in? Determine your expertise and identify the industry that needs your insight.
  2. Attend several workshops/speaking engagements in that industry, to learn what’s in demand.
  3. Note topics of interest, identify the trends – know your audience and what they want.
  4. Read industry journals and take notes on what people are talking about.
  5. Create support materials to distribute during or after your speech.
  6. Create a list of 5-minute speaking topics, with titles and short descriptions.
  7. Find the names of conference/meeting coordinators.
  8. Approach coordinators by phone and follow up with an e-mail giving a short bio, a list of possible topics and, if possible, testimonials from people who’ve heard you speak.
  9. Follow up 3-6 months prior to the next conference – organizers often have last-minute cancellations they need to fill.
  10. Use social media to create your own hype.

Mariposa cautions that you shouldn’t expect to get paid right away. It can take a few months or even a few years to build your reputation and become known as a professional in your field.

Meanwhile, of course, the best way to sharpen your skills and learn from pros like Mariposa is to step up to the Toastmasters lectern and start creating your future.

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